Saturday, September 29, 2012
butter layer cake.
It's been so long since I made a layer cake that I started to miss it. The best part about making layer cakes as opposed to cupcakes is that you can cut yourself a decadent slice when you feel like it, and also a tiny sliver if you just need a little bit of sugar rush. On the other hand, I find a cupcake sometimes too small when I really want to pig out, as in the cake for dinner kind of portion, and sometimes too big when I just want a few bites of cake (when you make regular sized cupcakes). I could probably make mini cupcakes to satisfy myself in the latter scenario, but to make such a small amount of batter is fussy (I only have one 12-hole mini cupcake pan).
This cake is essentially a butter cake with heavy cream in the batter, with vanilla bean pastry cream sandwiched in the middle, frosted with nutella frosting and then drizzled with chocolate ganache to finish it off.
The cake recipe really attracted me to it because of the heavy cream it uses in the batter. I've only come to realize recently how wonderful the extra dairy fat can be in a cake. It really enriches the cake and makes the texture melt-in-your-mouth, not to mention make the cake taste extra buttery. There's quite a noticeable nutmeg flavour in this cake and I'm undecided to whether I like it there or not.
The pastry cream is there because the founder of the recipe said that it would underline the butteriness of the cake. Personally, I think jam would be a sharper contrast than milky creamy pastry cream but I really enjoyed the juxtaposing texture it gave with the firmness of the cake. Jam would have been spread out too thinly to provide much textural contrast.
I gave another shot at nutella frosting because I wanted to see what I did wrong last time that made it curdle. This time, frustratingly, it curdled again! It all went awry when I started to beat it with my whisk attachment. I think the oils in the nutella just can't stand up to heavy whisking. If you've made nutella frosting successfully before, please tell me what you did so I can correct what I've been doing wrongly! Nutella frosting is too delicious to give up on it just like that.
I did the glaze because I've always wanted to try out this dramatic effect with the chocolate dripping down the sides of the cake and all. Speaking of the sides of the cake, I really enjoyed taking fistfuls of chocolate rice and plastering them onto the cake. I took quite a while to do it though because I was trying to be careful not to get frosting onto my fingers. I think an easier way to would be to freeze the frosted cake until firm and roll it on its sides in the sprinkles don't you think? This might just become my new favourite way to decorate cakes! Especially because it can hide the flaws in frosting consistency. In this case, the mildly curdled frosting.
By the way, doesn't this cake kind of remind you of a boston cream pie?
P.S. If you stick some banana slices in between with the pastry cream it will be da bomb!
Butter Layer Cake
makes an 9 inch cake
adapted from Baking by Flavour
To assemble this cake like I did, after letting the layers cool, spread about 1 cup of pastry cream on top of one layer before topping it with the other. Then, swaddle the cake with nutella frosting.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups sugar (I used 1 cup)
6 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk + 1/2 cup light cream
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two 9 inch pans.
Sift the flours, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together.
Beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugar in two additions, beating after each addition for 1 minute. Add the egg yolks and until incorporated. Add in the vanilla extract.
Beat in the flour mixture (in 3 additions) and milk mixture (in 2 additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it equally between the two. Bake for about 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out mostly clean, with moist crumbs attached. Cool the cake completely before frosting.